Released by the Roper Mountain Science Center.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (March 22, 2021) – In conjunction with World Water Day, Roper Mountain Science Center unveiled the first exhibit within the brand new 30,000 square foot Environmental Science and Sustainability Center – Our Water Story.
In partnership with Greenville Water, this large exhibit is an immersive, multi-level experience that visualizes the process of the water cycle through the local Greenville Watershed by highlighting all the different ways water benefits our lives and how we can better protect this vital resource.
“Our Water Story is the dynamic interactive centerpiece in this world-class facility that will be enjoyed by tens of thousands of students and visitors annually,” said Michael Weeks, director of Roper Mountain Science Center. “This is not just another educational building. It represents a whole new world of opportunity for our children, our community, and our state. It combines cutting-edge interactive technology with immersive educational experiences that foster exploration and stewardship of natural resources and will engage students in hands-on learning about personal and global sustainability.”
Due in large part to the hardwork of local partners, Greenville’s water has won numerous water taste tests over the years. The Greenville Water System meets the drinking water needs of more than 450,000 South Carolinians and receives most of its water from two large mountain watersheds. These 26,000 acres of pristine watershed are located about 25 miles north and northwest of the City of Greenville in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The award-winning water collected in the outcropping springs gradually flows into the streams which are then carried into either of two man-made reservoirs; one on the headwaters of the South Saluda River (Table Rock) and the other on the headwaters of the North Saluda River.
Table Rock is one of the watersheds highlighted in this new exhibit, guiding visitors on a journey through the water cycle and watershed. An interactive wall exhibit will also show the water treatment process and the operation of the distribution system of Greenville Water.
“Water is arguably our state's most essential natural resource and planning for our future water needs is one of the most important accomplishments we can achieve together. The Environmetal Science and Sustainability Center and Our Water Story exhibit take visitors on a one-of-a-kind, immersive journey through our Table Rock Watershed and engages the entire community to increase awareness and stakeholder understanding of this invaluable natural resource,” said Emerald Clark Greenville Water public relations manager. “The exhibit highlights Greenville Water’s emphasis on environmental awareness, teaching that the preservation of our high-quality water is critical to the community's growth, longevity and sustainability.”
Today the Roper Mountain Science Center Association also kicked off the public phase of their “Doing Big Things On A Little Mountain” campaign. The $4.1 million campaign focuses on funding for both permanent and traveling exhibits in the new facility, enhanced public programming, expanded operating hours, as well as exhibit licensing and refurbishing.
“We are proud to announce that the Roper Mountain Science Center Association has already raised $2.5 million during the pre-campaign phase, which has provided the funding for exhibits like Our Water Story. We look forward to welcoming additional partners to help expand programming and add additional innovative exhibits that will enhance the hands-on learning already taking place at Roper Mountain,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Lawson, co-chair of the “Doing Big Things On A Little Mountain” campaign.
To meet capacity needs as well as growing public demand, Greenville County Schools made a $12.2 million investment to build the new Environmental Science and Sustainability Center. The facility is the first new educational building constructed since 1990. It will provide unique and immersive educational experiences that foster exploration and stewardship of natural resources and engage students in grades 4 through 7 in hands-on learning about personal and global sustainability.
“It is most appropriate on this day to be recognizing a new addition to Roper Mountain Science Center, a building that in great measure focuses on one of our most valuable and threatened resources. This exhibit provides students not only with a deep understanding of our environment, but also with the educational foundation to preserve and protect it for generations to come,” Dr. W. Burke Royster, superintendent of Greenville County School added.
The Environmental Science and Sustainability Center will allow Roper Mountain to expand school program attendance by more than 15% by adding new standards-based labs for 4th through 7th grade in earth science, ecology and sustainability. Additionally, enhanced teacher professional development programs in environmental science and sustainability will be available, as will expanded public programming and increased operating hours.
$2.5 million of the $4.1 million has been raised to-date. Gallery sponsors include Greenville Water, Fluor, and Michelin. Other exhibit sponsors include the Greater Greenville Sanitation Commission, the Piedmont Arthritis Clinic, the Symmes Foundation, BOSCH Community Fund, Duke Energy, John I. Smith Charities, the Jolley Foundation, Greenville Evening Rotary, ScanSource, SCETV, South Carolina Charities, and many individual donors. A generous grant was also provided from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
To learn more about Roper Mountain Science Center’s new Environmental Science and Sustainability building and its associated Doing Big Things On A Little Mountain Campaign, visit www.ropermountain.org.